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Kelly Wallace: The reasons behind Erakat's resignation

CNN's Kelly Wallace
CNN's Kelly Wallace

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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat has unexpectedly resigned on the eve of an Israeli-Palestinian summit, Palestinian sources said Friday.

CNN Correspondent Kelly Wallace spoke Friday about the reasons behind Erakat's resignation only weeks after the Palestinian Cabinet's formation.

WALLACE: The key question continues to be why did Saeb Erakat, the man leading Palestinian negotiations since the mid-1990s, decide to submit his resignation now.

In a phone call with CNN, Saeb Erakat says he does not want to comment and that he made the decision based on "a lot of things."

He dismisses reports that he was enraged at being excluded from the Palestinian delegation with this upcoming Saturday night meeting with [Israeli Prime Minister] Ariel Sharon.

Some CNN sources are saying that Saeb Erakat was fed up with the current Palestinian leadership.

As for this coming meeting, expectations are low -- even though it is the first Israel-Palestinian summit in 2 1/2 years. The expectations are low because both sides [are] entering the meeting with different agendas.

[Mahmoud] Abbas, the Palestinian prime minister, wants to use the meeting, according to Palestinian sources, to try to convince the Israelis to formally accept the Middle East "road map," something Israel has not yet done.

The message from the Palestinians will be until Israel accepts the road map, the Palestinians can't really be expected to go ahead and rein in radical Palestinian groups like Hamas.

Sharon, according to Israeli officials, will say until he sees Abbas taking concrete steps on the ground to crack down on groups like Hamas, he is not going to take more serious steps, such as pulling Israeli forces out of Palestinian towns.

There is another reason. That is because many believe Prime Minister Sharon might wait to announce any big move that Israel might make after his meeting in Washington with President Bush, which takes place on Tuesday.


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